Occupation: Chef/owner of R.A. MacSammy's, a food truck specializing in mac and cheese. (For locations, follow RAMacSammys on Twitter or go to ramacsammys.com.)
What did you want to be when you grew up? I really wanted to play professional sports, especially baseball. I'm not very big, and it's the one sport I can play because it's more of a skilled sport instead of having to be a lumbering giant.
What was your first job in food? I started cooking at the Gale Mansion in Minneapolis, home of the American Association of University Woman, about three weeks after I got married. I was hired to do banquet setups and dishes, and on the first day, one of the cooks got mad at the chef and walked out and I stepped right into her role.
How did you wind up owning a food truck? I wanted to have my own restaurant but didn't have the resources. Then, I became fascinated with food trucks. They're the culinary equivalent of a wandering minstrel, only instead of playing music to anyone who will listen, I wander around making mac and cheese for anyone who will eat it.
What's the mac and cheese version you're most proud of? I'm most intrigued by the Greek mac, using feta in the white cheese sauce and adding kalamata olives, onions, tomatoes and fresh basil.
What's something few people know about you? I sing tenor in a barbershop chorus. I've been
What culinary trend do you wish would die? I like culinary trends. They're fairly indicative of where our society is at the time. Those that are truly fads will fade away on their own.
What's something in your career that you wish you had done differently? I wish I had made the jump to opening my own business much earlier when I had a bit more energy.
What's your favorite restaurant? I was unemployed for a little over a year, so we didn't do a lot of eating out. But we've lived in Apple Valley since 1999, and we've been going to Doolittles in Eagan for 13 years and have never had a bad meal or bad service. It's not necessarily flashy, but they understand customer service and do a really solid job. And their wings are incredibly underrated.
If someone were to play you in a movie, who should it be? Probably Richard Dreyfuss. There's a little similarity in the shape of our faces and our personalities - we're both kind of smartasses.
What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten? Foie gras. The first time I tried it was when Marcus Samuelsson made it at (the former) Aquavit. It was like a chocolate lava cake, cooked in a timbale mold so when you cut into the center it was still liquid but the outside was set. Amazing.
What's next? I'm going to see how this goes. I'd love to parlay it into a second truck or possibly a storefront. I did a lot of research on mac-and-cheese-oriented restaurants in other metropolitan areas, and I think the idea could catch fire in the Twin Cities - a nice destination place, casual but different.